Summary: Guarding our hearts means to practice SMART LOVE. Tonight I want to share with you 5 REALIZATIONS we must make to get on God’s pathway of smart love.
ILL- Keeper of the Spring
Prov. 4:23 tells us…"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" Proverbs 4:23
Guarding our hearts means to practice SMART LOVE. Tonight I want to share with you 5 REALIZATIONS we must make to get on God’s pathway of smart love.
1. Relationships are a __GIFT___ from God. (Ja. 1:17)
We were ___CREATED___ for relationships. (Gen. 2:18)
We must remember that our most important relationship is with
__JESUS_. (Mt. 22:37)
Knowing that relationships are a gift from God, here are a few of my concerns about dating. First of all, DATING ISN’T BIBLICAL! The whole concept of dating is cultural…you know a lot about dating because you grew up in a culture that practices it. Dating is not the only way to find a mate and may not be the BEST way either. If it were the best way, our country would have the lowest divorce rate. The truth is our country has one of the highest divorce rates and the rates are nearly as high among Christians.
Here are a few of my concerns about dating:
1. Dating often leads to intimacy but not necessarily to commitment.
2. Dating tends to skip the friendship stage of the relationship.
3. Dating often mistakes a physical relationship for love.
4. Dating often isolates a couple from other vital relationships. (with God, friends, family)
5. Dating distracts young people from their primary responsibility of preparing for the future.
6. Dating causes discontentment with God’s gift of singleness.
7. Dating creates an artificial environment for evaluating another person’s character.
2. Every relationship is an opportunity to model Christ’s _LOVE__. (Jn. 13:34-35)
We choose how we relate to one another. Let’s do a quick contrast between the world’s view of love and what Christ teaches us about love.
The world says:
Love is primarily for the fulfillment and comfort of __SELF__.
Love is a ___FEELING____.
Love is ___BEYOND___ our control.
Love is for the good of __OTHERS__ and the glory of God. (Jn. 15:13)
Love is not measured or governed by feeling. (Jn. 14:15)
Love is under our control. (Jn. 15:17)
God’s love is defined with terms like: committed, sincere, selfless, and responsible. (1 Cor. 13)
Here’s a key point: We cannot love as God loves and date as the world dates.
3. Our __UNMARRIED__ years are a gift from God. (1Cor.7:26-27,32-35)
God gives all of us a "season of singleness" to grow closer to Him and to serve Him in ways that we may not be able to when we are married. I have been able to go to Seminary, take a 3 week trip to Israel, go to Estonia on a missions trip, help plant a new church, and serve Him with The Navigators.
What I’m saying is, when I stopped worrying about who I was going to marry and began to trust God’s timing, I uncovered the incredible potential of serving God as a single.
How can we make the most of our single years by practicing intimacy with our family; by seeking God with others and being willing to go where He wants us to go and do what He wants us to do; begin practicing financial responsibility; learn what it means to be a parent (volunteer to babysit for others); learn practical life skills- how to change a flat tire, how to fix a broken window, how to tune the engine of the space shuttle…stuff like that.
4. Intimacy is a reward for ___COMMITTMENT____. (Heb. 13:4)
We need to respect the deep significance of physical intimacy.
People date because they want to enjoy the emotional and even physical benefits of intimacy without the responsibility of real commitment. Intimacy without commitment is defrauding. Intimacy without friendship is superficial. A relationship based only on physical attraction and romantic feelings will last only was long as the feelings last. Guys, you have no business asking for a girl’s heart and affections if you are not ready to back up your request with a lifelong commitment.
I want to challenge you to set you standard high…even too high.
ILL- Billy Graham never goes into an elevator alone with a women (how inconvenient)
ILL- Joshua Harris would never stop by a girls house if she was home alone.
We need to understand the difference between ___FRIENDSHIP___ and intimacy.
C.S. Lewis said "Lovers are face to face while friends side by side eyes looking ahead."
Friends have something in common that’s the focus of the relationship: a common goal, music, sports,
One mistake I’ve made through the years is I haven’t built a strong friendship before I started
dating…if I had, I would have saved myself a lot of pain because I would have never dated them at all.
Build strong friendships first and be inclusive, not exclusive; seek opportunities to serve, not to be entertained.